Czech Republic

The 2016 MoD budget, higher by CZK 4 billion when compared to a year before (2015), reached the CZK 47.78 billion (see chart below), which after the subtraction of the total MoD revenues (insurance & tax revenues & non-tax revenues, capital revenues and transfers received), accounted for CZK 42.65 billion. The already approved budget for 2017, reflects a further increase to CZK 52.54 billion, while forecasts for 2018 raise this figure to CZK 57.24 billion.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD), is the central authority of the state administration for ensuring the defence of the Czech Republic (CR), through its contribution to the formation of military strategy, preparation of operations, proposition of necessary defence arrangements to the CR government and co-ordination with armed forces of NATO, EU and other allies.

While the Joint Forces Command and Support Forces Command Headquarters were disbanded in 2013, today the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic (ACR) consist of the Air Force and the Land Forces. Due to the geography of the country, there is no need for maintaining a Naval Force. The ACR’s primary mission, is to ensure the sovereignty of the country and meet its commitments against its international obligations and treaties. Also, the ACR are tasked with peacekeeping and search & rescue operations, at both the national and international levels.

After the fall of communism and the break-up of the former Czechoslovakia, the Czech armed forces underwent a period of ‘disintegration’. This was altered in the late 90’s when the country started preparing for NATO membership. Czech Republic’s membership in NATO (1999) and EU (2004), has operated as an added impetus to the transformation of the Armed Forces of Czech Republic (ACR), into a more downsized, modernized, and easily deployable force.

Since 2005, when the conscription service system was abandoned in the Czech Republic, the civilian employees of the MoD have decreased significantly (in 2005 they amounted to 14,971 and in 2015 to just 6,411), contributing to the overall downsize of the MoD personnel (in 1995 the MoD personnel totalled 54,110 people, while in 2005 only 38,081). In 2015, the MoD total personnel included 29,512 people, of which the majority were Career soldiers (see chart below).

The ACR Reserves, consist of the ‘Soldiers in Reserve’ and ‘Soldiers in Active Reserve’. At the moment (2016), there are 16 Active Reserve units, affiliated to respective ACR combat units, while a rifle Active Reserve unit is subordinated to any of the 14 Regional Military Headquarters (KVV).

In 2016, ACR Forces were deployed in either peace-keeping or training and support missions in Afghanistan, Kosovo (NATO joint operation), EU-NAVFOR “Atalanta” – off the coast of Somalia, EUFOR-Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina, EUTM and MINUSMA in Mali, EUNAVFOR-MED in Sophia, MFO in the Sinai, UNDOF in the Golan and as part of the Air Advisory team in Iraq.

The share of the Czech Republic’s MoD, as a percent of the overall expenditure of the state budget, has been following an increasing trend since 2014; specifically it amounted to 3.2% for 2014, 3.3% for 2015, and 3.8% for 2016.

The 2016 MoD budget, higher by CZK 4 billion when compared to a year before (2015), reached the CZK 47.78 billion (see chart below), which after the subtraction of the total MoD revenues (insurance & tax revenues & non-tax revenues, capital revenues and transfers received), accounted for CZK 42.65 billion.

The already approved budget for 2017, reflects a further increase to CZK 52.54 billion, while forecasts for 2018 raise this figure to CZK 57.24 billion.

The 2016 Defence Budget was allocated, as illustrated in the charts below:

In another division, 21% of the 2016 Defence budget was allocated to the Land Forces, 17% to the Air Force and the rest 62% to other forces and administrative purposes.

Of the 2016 Budget, the amount of CZK 44.2 billion (i.e. some 92.5% of total MoD expenditures), will be allocated to operating costs - including related operating expenditures of programme financing and defence research, development and innovation expenditures.

In the last ten years, the Czech Republic’s military procurements included Aircraft (US $610 million), Engines (US $51 million), Armoured vehicles (US $50 million), Missiles (US $46 million) and Sensors (US $37 million).

Overall, arms imports demonstrated fluctuations over the period (2005-2015), from a historic high of 2005, to a low value in 2009, another peak in 2011 and low values thereafter, particularly in 2014 and 2015.

The 10 major arms suppliers of defence equipment to the Czech Republic for the same period (2005-2015), included Sweden (48.7%), Russia (24.3%), the US (7.9%) and Spain (6%).

As a result of such procurements and also of reduced spending in recent years, the number of main units the Czech Armed Forces have in their possession (up to January 2016), have evolved as reflected in the below chart.


According to a report published by the country’s authorities, named “The Long Term Perspective for Defence 2030”, the Czech Armed Forces “must be prepared to operate in extremely varied cultural environments, including ethnicity, language and religion. They must be mobile, highly efficient and accurate, resilient, deployable, sustainable, flexible and interoperable, be provided with relevant intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, reconnaissance (ISTAR), and fire support. In the development of capabilities, an emphasis will be put on the real time coverage of the operational area and on the shortest possible reaction time of the Command, Control, Communication and Computers, Intelligence, and Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems”.

In order to face the new challenges of today, the restructuring and optimising of the Armed Forces has been a prerequisite. In a different view, towards the implementation of key modernization projects, the defence budget will have to grow. Czech authorities acknowledge this and they have projected that the defence budget will progressively reach, by the year 2020, the amount of 55 to 60 billion CZK (at 2014 figures), representing approximately 1.4% of the GDP. Additionally, Czech authorities are planning to allocate 20% of total defence expenditure to the acquisition or modernization of major weapon systems including related research, while the personnel expenditure will not exceed 50% of the defence budget.

In confirmation of the above, the 2015 Czech Security Strategy recognises the low risk of direct military attack to the country, but indicates the importance of new non-military threats, such as the global inequality, international migration, serious financial crime and terrorism. Thereafter, major strategic directions for future capabilities development include the reduction of crime, the reinforcement of the counter-intelligence and defence intelligence of the country and the suppression of extremism and its causes, developing non-governmental organisations involved in security, as well as technical and technological capabilities for data protection (Cyber security).

Another identified potential threat for the Czech Republic, is the interruption of strategic raw material and energy supply. With respect to this, the Government’s priority includes protection of the energy infrastructure, through measures for ensuring materials diversification and the stability of electricity supply within the Czech Republic.

It cannot be omitted to mention that the Czech Republic, being aware of the instability and regional conflicts in the Euro-Atlantic area, recognises that National Security depends on the effective preservation of its multilateral relationships, as an EU and NATO member; in this context, it takes part in joint acquisitions/armaments programmes, through its active involvement in the NATO collective defence system, as well as the development of EU crisis management capabilities and through close cooperation with partner countries.